Taking a Shot at SPACE Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Dakota Snow from Albany, Ore. He listens to Weekend Edition on member station KWAX in Eugene, Ore.)
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Taking a Shot at SPACE

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Taking a Shot at SPACE

Taking a Shot at SPACE

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi, Liane. Welcome back.

HANSEN: Thanks very much. I had a little vacation, but I think the most fun thing I did was go out to Hollywood and visit with my son and do totally tourist things and take a look at the Kodak Theatre before all the Oscar brouhaha and put my feet in Humphrey Bogart's cement footsteps.

SHORTZ: How did you fit?

HANSEN: I think his are a little smaller than mine, actually. But it was so fun. I'd never been there before and it was just fun to play tourist. I understand you're going somewhere next week.

SHORTZ: Yeah, I'm flying to Luca, Italy for the first World Sodoku Championship. There are more than 20 countries competing from around the world, and of course the U.S. will have a team.

HANSEN: Wow, I knew when last I spoke to you, you didn't think you were going to go, but changed your mind, huh?

SHORTZ: Couldn't keep me away.

HANSEN: Yeah, you betcha. All right. Well, you left us with a challenge last week to work on. Would you repeat it, please?

SHORTZ: Yes, I said take the phrase take bets on, rearrange these ten letters to name something to eat. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: It's T-bone steak.

HANSEN: Wow, good one. Well, we had over 3,500 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle and our winner randomly selected from the correct answers is Dakota Snow from Albany, Oregon. Hi, Dakota.

Mr. DAKOTA SNOW (Caller): Hi, there.

HANSEN: What do you do in Albany, Oregon?

Mr. SNOW: Well, right now I'm actually in Portland at a robotics competition.

HANSEN: So you're a student?

Mr. SNOW: Yes, I am a high school student right now.

HANSEN: Where do you go to school?

Mr. SNOW: West Albany High School.

HANSEN: All right. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. SNOW: I've been playing it for about three weeks now, actually.

HANSEN: Ah, how did you find out about it?

Mr. SNOW: My math teacher, Mr. White, puts the puzzle up on his white board every week. He's been playing for about 11 years and hasn't been selected.

HANSEN: How did he react when you told him that you're going to be the puzzle player?

Mr. SNOW: I haven't had a chance to talk to him. I'll see him Monday.

HANSEN: He'll hear on the air and get surprised, right? Well, are you ready to play?

Mr. SNOW: Yes, I am.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Will, please meet Dakota. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Dakota and Liane. Today I brought a game of categories using the word space, s-p-a-c-e. I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in the category starting with each of the letters s-p-a-c-e. For example, if the category were boys names, you might say Steven, Pedro, Andrew, Charles and Edward. Your first category is high school classes and you can do these in any order. Are you taking a foreign language in school?

Mr. SNOW: American sign language.

SHORTZ: Well, I'll take that for an A. Algebra, Art and American History will do.

Mr. SNOW: All right, Physics.

SHORTZ: Physics is a good P, yes. Are you taking a foreign language?

Mr. SNOW: Yeah, Spanish.

SHORTZ: There you go, there's your S. And now we need a C and an E.

Mr. SNOW: American History.

SHORTZ: Well, there's your A. What about an advanced math class?

Mr. SNOW: Calculus.

SHORTZ: Calculus, and E?

Mr. SNOW: E, electronics.

SHORTZ: Electronics.

HANSEN: I would say English, but...

SHORTZ: English or Economics, good. All right, Category No. 2 is cities in Oregon.

Mr. SNOW: Cities in Oregon. Let's see, Scio.

SHORTZ: Okay, you could've said Salem. Yes, your capital.

Mr. SNOW: Salem, yeah. Albany.

SHORTZ: Albany, yes. I thought you might say that. What's the biggest?

Mr. SNOW: Portland.

SHORTZ: Portland, yes. A C and an E.

Mr. SNOW: Coos Bay.

SHORTZ: Coos Bay or Corvallis, and an E?

Mr. SNOW: Eugene.

SHORTZ: Eugene, excellent. Your next category is punctuation marks.

Mr. SNOW: Punctuation, period.


Mr. SNOW: Apostrophe.

SHORTZ: Apostrophe.

Mr. SNOW: Comma.


HANSEN: How about semi-colon?

SHORTZ: Semi-colon, excellent.

Mr. SNOW: Semi-colon, thank you.

HANSEN: Sure. E.

SHORTZ: And just an E. And if you're saying something really important, what do you put at the end of the sentence?

Mr. SNOW: Exclamation point.

SHORTZ: Exclamation point, yes. And your last category is words containing a Q.

Mr. SNOW: A Q?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A Q can be anywhere in the word.

Mr. SNOW: I'm trying to think.

HANSEN: That's hard, isn't it?

SHORTZ: Well, first of all, for S how about a shape in Geometry?

Mr. SNOW: A square, right?

SHORTZ: Square, yes, good.

Mr. SNOW: E, I just had one. I'm trying to, I lost it.

HANSEN: How about equation?

SHORTZ: Equation, excellent. P, A and C. How about a game you play out on your lawn?

Mr. SNOW: There's so many I play on my lawn. I can't think of one.

SHORTZ: If it has mallets and wickets.

Mr. SNOW: I know the game. Gosh.

HANSEN: And it is so right out, huh? Croquet?

SHORTZ: Croquet, that's it. We're left with P and A. For A, how about an indoor place for fish?

Mr. SNOW: Aquarium.

SHORTZ: Aquarium, yes. And just the P. How about if you're really angry and it's in five letters and there's a q in the third spot.

HANSEN: Are you looking for someone who has a fit of pique?

SHORTZ: A fit of pique, that's it. Okay, you guys did it together.

Mr. SNOW: Yeah, thank you.

HANSEN: You're a team player. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, the Puzzlemaster Presents from Random House, Volume 2, and a set of Sodoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press. Dakota, when you listen to Public Radio what station do you listen to?

Mr. SNOW: I get it offline, actually.

HANSEN: Oh, okay.

Mr. SNOW: And on the Internet.

HANSEN: Do you know your call letters of your station in Oregon?

Mr. SNOW: It is KWAX.

HANSEN: KWAX in Eugene.

Mr. SNOW: Yes.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Dakota Snow from Albany, Oregon, thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us. Good luck telling your math teacher that you were actually on the puzzle and thanks a lot.

Mr. SNOW: All right. Thank you very much.

HANSEN: All right. Take care of yourself.

Mr. SNOW: All right.

HANSEN: All right. Now, Will, something for everyone to work on for the next week.

SHORTZ: Well, this week's challenge comes from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, New York, and Henry is one of the country's top crossword constructors. What eight-letter noun containing the letter B as in boy is pluralized by inserting an S immediately before the B. So again, what eight-letter noun containing the letter B is pluralized not by putting an S at the end, but by inserting an S immediately before the B?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, remember, we have a new way for you to send in your entry. We no longer accept email entries, but what you do is you go to our website, npr.org, and you click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday puzzle page. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if you're the winner and you'll get to play the puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S Puzzle Master, Will Shortz, who joined us from New York. Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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